Grain and Livestock Producers: Dealing with Vomitoxin and Zearalenone

Yet again, reports from the 2022 harvest have indicated concerns with Vomitoxin and Zearalenone in grains harvested this fall. Some species of livestock are able to tolerate these toxins better than others. However, how do you know if you have a problem this year? Thankfully, our OSU Extension team from Delaware County reviews important considerations when addressing these concerns.

Known Bale Weights are Critical this Year

Mike Rankin, Hay and Forage Grower Managing Editor
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: November 15, 2022)

(Image Source: Hay & Forage Grower)

As a hay industry, there are still a number of hay sales that occur “by the bale.” Yes, it’s easier, but if the sale is made without factoring in bale weight and moisture, there’s a good chance the buyer is paying either too much or not enough.

You’ve probably heard this issue reiterated many times over the years, but it’s a safe bet that you’ve never heard it when the price of hay is as high as current values.

For a large swath of the western U.S., drought was the dominating factor during the past growing season. Many livestock producers know they will be short on winter hay or will cut it pretty close. Accurate inventories will no doubt mean the difference between having enough hay or having hungry, low-performing [livestock].

My point is that known, accurate bale weights have Continue reading

Alternative Feeds: Is Variety the Spice of Life?

Eastern Alliance for Production Katahdins (EAPK) Communications Committee
(Previously published online with EAPK: November 6, 2022)

When it comes to sheep feed…it depends. With staggering increases in feed costs due to inflation, supply chain disruptions, impacts of international conflicts affecting energy, grain and fertilizer production along with regional weather events, now might be a good time to investigate alternative feedstuffs. Alternative feeds are those that are not commonly used on a regular basis as part of the usual livestock feed ration and are often cheaper than typical feed, such as corn and soybeans. Availability and cost of certain alternative feeds will vary based on geographic region so it pays to do some research on what might or might not be available in your area. Most alternative feeds are by-products or residuals, and so the energy, protein, and mineral content, as well as the costs can vary widely. As with any feed, there are potential concerns with some alternative feedstuffs that producers should be aware of prior to incorporating them into their sheep feeding program.

Dried Distiller’s Grains:
DDGs are a by-product of bioethanol production from grains, usually corn. It can be an inexpensive source of Continue reading

The Many Faces of Forage Testing

Mike Rankin, Hay and Forage Grower Managing Editor
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: September 6, 2022)

If you grow or harvest forage, develop forage products, sell stuff to people who grow forage, educate people who grow forage, do research for people who grow forage, or just buy forage, then consider yourself a card-carrying member of the forage industry.

Wherever you fit into this unique band of brothers and sisters often helps form your opinions on a variety of forage topics and issues. Sometimes, those opinions differ. I could pick any number of topics to demonstrate this, but let’s focus on forage testing and analysis. First, some full disclosure on my part.

My past has long been grounded in forage crops, but specifically as they are produced and utilized in the Midwest dairy industry. That is probably still my measuring stick, although in my current journalistic endeavors I have had the opportunity to interact with many other types of forage and livestock producers from across the United States.

Forage testing, or more specifically fiber analysis, Continue reading

Challenging Hay Quality in 2022

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

From the Beef page, Mr. Stan Smith highlights the challenges that many producers have experienced during 2022 when it came to making quality hay. As you read through this piece, you will see several references to cattle and wonder why I chose to share this piece on our page. The current state of hay quality in the state of Ohio and across the nation is of concern and the reality is that if the hay available to producers now does not meet the standards for beef cattle, it certainly won’t make the mark for our small ruminants. Whether you are making your own hay or purchasing it, a simple hay test this year will be worth its weight in gold. For those interested in haying their hays tested or need assistance with interpreting your results, please don’t hesitate to connect.

In a year like this when, according to the National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) estimates, barely half of Ohio’s first cutting hay harvest was completed by mid-June, it is apparent that Ohio cattlemen will again be faced with finding ways to make “feed” from forages that were harvested way past their prime.

As an example of the hay quality we are seeing Continue reading

Fall Forage Management for Hay and Pasture

Doo-Hong Min, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, MSU Extension
Richard Lee, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, MSU Extension
(Previously published on MSU Extension, Crop Advisory Team Alerts: September 18, 2008)

(Image Source: Texas A&M University)

Among the four seasons, fall is one of the most important seasons in terms of preparing for winter survival and spring regrowth by storing carbohydrate and protein reserves in the crowns and roots. Fall is also the season for regeneration and the formation of the shoots or growing points. Since plants become dormant in the fall as air temperature is getting lower and day length is shorter, nutrient uptake becomes accordingly slower. The following are points to consider for fall forage management for hay and pasture:

1.) Soil fertility and liming:
Since the price of fertilizer is so high these days, it’s important to use phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) efficiently. One of the best ways to save fertilizer costs is to Continue reading

Feeding Frosted Forages

Dr. Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist, The Ohio State University

I am beginning to get questions about toxicities that can develop after forages are frosted. There is potential for some forage toxicities and other problems that can develop after a frost. Prussic acid poisoning and high nitrates are the main concern with a few specific annual forages and several weed species, but there is also an increased risk of bloat when grazing legumes after a frost.

Nitrate accumulation in frosted forages
Freezing damage slows down metabolism in all plants, and this might result in nitrate accumulation in plants that are still growing, especially grasses like oats and other small grains, millet, and sudangrass.  This build-up usually is not hazardous to grazing animals, but greenchop or hay cut right after a freeze can be more dangerous. When in doubt, send in a sample to a forage testing lab and request a nitrate test before grazing or feeding a forage after a frost. Continue reading

The Many Faces of Forage Testing

Mike Rankin, Hay and Forage Grower Managing Editor
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: September 6, 2022)

As you read through this piece provided by Mike Rankin, think to yourself, “where do small ruminant producers fall?”

(Image Source: Hay & Forage Grower)

If you grow or harvest forage, develop forage products, sell stuff to people who grow forage, educate people who grow forage, do research for people who grow forage, or just buy forage, then consider yourself a card-carrying member of the forage industry.

Wherever you fit into this unique band of brothers and sisters often helps form your opinions on a variety of forage topics and issues. Sometimes, those opinions differ. I could pick any number of topics to demonstrate this, but let’s focus on forage testing and analysis. First, some full disclosure on my part. Continue reading